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my brother; bronzed grackle


the body darting close             and lifting       seamlessly

in the face of danger. 


                                           are we not all sick of bird poems? 

but how else can i describe the way danger   curves

toward us        without warning. 


the body surely looked           before spreading         its wings 

and darting      close, one minute        clear,   the next 

we were there,                            massive and    moving 

             and unstoppable.         i thought surely— 

but no, the body          lifting              seamlessly 

in the face of danger. 


when i tell you its wingspan   doubled 

in upward motion,                               you must believe me. 

               when i tell you the bird was my brother, 

you must           believe me. 


                                          are we not all sick of brother poems? 

but how else can i describe the way he snuck            in the spare bedroom 

hazy and heavy,            opening the bottom drawer    to take 

what he thought                      he needed.        i didn’t wake 

until the drawer           closed,                           and he had no thought 

of me   waking.              no whispered reassurances,               lost 

in the maze      of his own mind.                      so i said           

nothing. let my body remain dead heavy,                 looked out 

through my lashes       so he wouldn’t see      the whites of my eyes. 


the door remained       open.   i strained         to listen for him 

               to come back, or to leave        entirely, but sleep 

reclaimed me                                as its own. 


my brother had not become the bird yet,       we’re getting there. 

                                           are we not all sick of expositional poems? 

but how else can i get you                      to the meat of it 

               without first    cutting through           skin, making way 

for flesh.          my brother      a haze of heroin, 

               a seam                bust open,        a life    pulled day by day.


my brother      a bottle            of fear,                        an endless tremor, 

               a life                made to face    its end.


my brother      a hatch                         of escape,       a body running 

               from itself,      a life                with only         one

path.                there,               i’ve severed        the skin, 

               made way        for flesh,         offered you     at least 

the meat of it.               i don’t mind now to give away the ending. 


though i don’t yet know          the end           of the ending. 


cell phone static,         voices of unfamiliar    men,    my brother 


between yelling           and pleading, so lost in the   maze, 

so many dead                                                                                  ends.


a small list       of exits; permanent.    a plea for money to flee; temporary

               (and denied, but not by me) 

guilt given heavy                          as a tether                   (but not by me). 


the image of a car       kissing                         a wall              at a hundred. 


the image of cash        unspooled                                on seven mile. 


the image of his poor weathered arm. 


the image of a hospital                            lacing his gown,          then his fragile mind. 


               all denied.       railed against. the body darting                      close.

 my brother;      out of the car. his haze           clear as day     in his eyes. 

               the courthouse                         steps    not so high      above him. 


the body          lifting              seamlessly 

in the face of danger.


                                         my brother; bronzed grackle. 

guttural            squeak; clear   whistles; rusty                         gate.



BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Revolute LitAfter the Pause, and Roanoke Review, among others. they are the 2022 winner of the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. Their portfolio can be found at

ISSN 2632-4423


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